Metabolic flux analysis in plants: from intelligent design to rational engineering

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2008;59:625-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.58.032806.103822.


Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) is a rapidly developing field concerned with the quantification and understanding of metabolism at the systems level. The application of MFA has produced detailed maps of flow through metabolic networks of a range of plant systems. These maps represent detailed metabolic phenotypes, contribute significantly to our understanding of metabolism in plants, and have led to the discovery of new metabolic routes. The presentation of thorough statistical evaluation with current flux maps has set a new standard for the quality of quantitative flux studies. In microbial systems, powerful methods have been developed for the reconstruction of metabolic networks from genomic and transcriptomic data, pathway analysis, and predictive modeling. This review brings together the recent developments in quantitative MFA and predictive modeling. The application of predictive tools to high quality flux maps in particular promises to be important in the rational metabolic engineering of plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Engineering
  • Homeostasis
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software